Our Mission

Our mission is to protect and restore the health of Northwest Straits’ marine resources by promoting and implementing science-based restoration and stewardship, enhancing collaboration, and attracting resources for the work of the Northwest Straits Initiative.

Since being founded in 2002, we’ve invested millions of dollars of private and corporate contributions in education, protection, and conservation across the seven-county region of the Northwest Straits.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. -Jacques Yves Cousteau


We work in partnership with the Northwest Straits Commission and
the Marine Resources Committees to support restoration and education projects across the region.

Learn more about our partners: Northwest Straits Commission and Marine Resources Committees

Board of Directors

Anne Murphy


Anne Murphy, a first generation resident of the Salish Sea region, was born in the Ohio River Valley of Kentucky. She moved west to attend Oregon State University for a degree in Natural Resource Management. She migrated to the North Olympic Peninsula to engage in coastal issues, resulting in a 27-year career in the non-profit, education and conservation field. As Executive Director of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Anne developed education programs and exhibits featuring Salish Sea marine life and conservation. She promoted citizen participation in science by establishing a community research lab that became the backbone of one of the region’s strongest citizen science programs. Since retiring in 2013, she remains hands-on with conservation through the Jefferson Marine Resources Committee and personal projects.

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Jerry Masters

Vice President

Jerry Masters is general manager for Valley Supply, a regional building supply company, and has represented economic interests on the Snohomish MRC, including serving two terms as chair of the committee. He also serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Northwest Straits Commission. Jerry is excited by the Initiative’s ability to accomplish work through voluntary actions and its sense that responsibility for environmental outcomes should be shared by all.

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Betsy Lyons


Betsy Lyons has over 17 years of experience working collaboratively on scientific research, policy and conservation efforts in the Pacific Northwest. She has worked on a broad range of issues including forest canopy research, rare plant conservation, natural area stewardship, native oyster restoration, water quality, shoreline and estuary restoration and climate change. Her interest is in bring together people, funding, technical resources and sound science to make informed decisions and strategic investments in Puget Sound. She believes healthy, functioning habitats are key to supporting vibrant and sustainable local communities. She values the Northwest Straits Foundation's commitment to informed policy through sound science, citizen engagement, public-private partnerships, and voluntary conservation. Betsy was an integral member of the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Program which created the state’s nearshore ecosystem restoration strategy for Puget Sound. She helped create and manage the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program which provides funding and technical assistance for high quality nearshore restoration, protection and monitoring in Puget Sound. She has a BS in Botany from the University of Washington and a Master of Environmental Studies from the Evergreen State College.  She currently lives and works in the Seattle area.

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Simon Geerlofs


Simon has lived, worked, and played on Puget Sound for most of his life (aside from two separate stints in Washington DC, where he worked for Senator Maria Cantwell and the Department of Energy's Wind and Water Power Program). He served on the Snohomish County MRC from 2010-2016, as vice chair for during the last three of those years. Before that, Simon was the Marine Programs Manager for the NWS Commission. These days, Simon stays busy as a Program Manager for Pacific NW National Laboratory's Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim. He splits his time between the Laboratory and running a small film production studio, Transect Films, with his wife, Faith. Simon, Faith, and their five-year-old daughter, Hala recently moved to Port Townsend, after years of battling traffic in Seattle and are still in the process of decompressing.

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Jay Lind

Board Member

Jay Lind is a third generation seafood processor with experience in marketing, quality control, finance, plant management, and international trade. He has a business degree from the University of Puget Sound and is currently involved with importing squid products and trading in seafood from the North Pacific. Jay is a member of the Skagit Marine Resources Committee.

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Jeff Ward

Board Member

Jeff Ward is a marine ecologist who retired in March 2015 as Senior Program Manager at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Sequim. He has over 35 years’ experience designing, implementing, and managing multidisciplinary environmental projects that assess ecological and human health risk and explain the tradeoffs associated with various management actions. Throughout his career, Jeff has worked closely with federal, state and local regulatory agencies; industry; and other stakeholder groups to develop collaborative solutions to complex problems and challenges. He currently represents the Clallam County MRC on the Northwest Straits Commission and the Northwest Straits Foundation, and is the coastal energy representative on the Washington Coast Marine Advisory Council.

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Join the hundreds of volunteers who help us every year! Your work will help protect the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty and marine resources.

Volunteer today!

Northwest Straits Foundation Staff

Caroline Gibson

Executive Director


Caroline comes full circle in the Northwest Straits Initiative, having spent six years managing programs for the Northwest Straits Commission and four on the Jefferson MRC. A self-professed aficionado of sharks, natural history dioramas, and Washington wines, she previously spent more than a decade in the nonprofit sector, much of it as External Relations Director with Pacific Marine Conservation Council.  Caroline is a passionate advocate for community-based conservation, and has served on a variety of regional advisory boards and committees. She holds extensive at-sea experience and studied marine sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Maine.

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Tarrell Kullaway

Director of Philanthropy


Tarrell comes to the Northwest Straits Foundation with 25 years of experience in non-profit leadership and development.  She most recently served as Senior Director of Development for the Cascade Bicycle Club during their successful capital campaign.  Prior to Cascade, she got to know many of our partners serving as the Director of Development for Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters.  A resident of the northwest for more than 2 decades, Tarrell and her husband Max are avid bicylists who enjoy bike-camping the glorious locations around the Salish Sea.  Tarrell loves meeting interesting people and looks forward to learning about the ecology of this beautiful region from people like you.

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Lisa Kaufman

Nearshore Project Manager


Lisa manages shoreline restoration projects on behalf of the Foundation and MRCs. She was formerly the Restoration Manager for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. She has worked on restoration projects around the region and was key to successful implementation of the Northwest Straits Initiative's creosote debris removal program and an important partner on many nearshore projects.

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Jason Morgan

Marine Projects Manager


Jason manages the Derelict Fishing Gear Program and Shoreline Restoration Monitoring. Prior to joining the Foundation, Jason worked for six years in commercial fisheries management. Jason gained extensive field experience in the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program, and was a key component to the successful start of the IFQ Catch Monitor Program. In addition to a busy professional life, he is an active volunteer devoting time to community outreach and environmental stewardship programs.

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Nicole Jordan

Communications Coordinator


Nicole Jordan has her Bachelor of Arts from Western Washington University in Environmental Education and Communication. Originally from Colorado, her interest in environmental conservation started with a love of the mountains. She moved to Bellingham in 2008 where she finished school and started exploring local conservation efforts.  She came to the Northwest Straits from the Marine Life Center in Bellingham, where she had been doing a variety of work including working with volunteers to managing databases and aquariums. Prior to that she worked in the funeral industry in promotion of restorative/natural burial practices. She is an avid sailor and diver, enjoys playing ukulele and traveling the globe in her spare time.

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Claire Surber

Administrative Coordinator


Claire is proudly a Pacific Northwest native. She is a recent graduate of Western Washington University with a major in Geography/Social Studies certification in Geographic Informational Systems (GIS) and a minor in Anthropology. She takes on a variety of administrative duties including managing multiple databases, fundraising support, project and grant support for the Foundation. Claire is also our current GIS Technician working on maps to help tell the stories behind the projects here at the NWSF. Claire is passionate about engaging people with their environment focusing on community building, place-making and sustainability. In her free time, you can find Claire out exploring the PNW, grabbing coffee at a local café or visiting her hometown Port Townsend, WA.

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Kenny Clarkson

Communications Specialist


A Maryland native, Kenny moved to Western Washington in 2012 to pursue writing and his passion for the outdoors. In 2016, he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in news/editorial journalism from Western Washington University. Since an early age, conservation and the upholding of wild places have been important to Kenny. An avid skier, hiker and backpacker, the environment of Western Washington has provided recreational opportunity, peace of mind and refuge for Kenny since his arrival in Bellingham. As communications specialist for the Northwest Straits Foundation, it is Kenny's job to inform the public of the work being done to protect and restore the Salish Sea.

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